The rubber match between Stone High and perennial state baseball power Purvis takes place on the baseball diamond this week as the Class 4A South State semifinals get underway.
The Tomcats host the Tornadoes Tuesday night to open the best of three series Tuesday night at Kevin Conard Field. This marks the third straight season that these two teams have faced off in the postseason, with Purvis winning in two straight games last year and Stone doing the same two seasons ago.
Stone advanced thanks to a two-game sweep of Mendenhall ending with a 13-2 win on the road Friday. Willie Breland smashed a three-run home run early in the game to set the tone for the Tomcats, who ended up with 10 hits. Anderson Hickman picked up the win on the bump.
In game one last week on Tuesday, Top-seed Stone knocked off Mendenhall 10-4 at Kevin Conard Field. Stone banged out 14 hits in the winning attack, led by Willie Breland whose first inning grand slam over the left field fence gave the Tomcats a lead they would never relinquish. Stone ace pitcher Connor Tice tossed a complete game with seven strikeouts to get the win.
The Tomcats have won four straight games in the playoffs and all in pretty impressive fashion. Stone swept South Pike in two games 12-0 and 17-0 in the opening round of action, before thumping Mendenhall last week. The Tomcats are the lone Class 4A squad in the “Southern Six” left standing in the playoffs. Region 8-4A foes Pass Christian and Bay both were eliminated in round two.
The Pirates fell to Newton County 8-3 on Sunday afternoon at Pearl River Community College to wrap up that series. The Cougars also took a 5-3 home win on Tuesday to open the series.
The losses brought an end to the star-studded career of Pass Christian standout Peyton Lacy, who excelled both at the plate and on the mound for the Pirates over the past several seasons. He is a Southern Miss signee.
Bay High saw its season come to a close with a 7-2 loss to Purvis on Thursday. The Tornadoes also won 16-6 on Tuesday to open the series.
The fourth and final Region 8-4A representative in the class 4A state playoffs was Greene County. The Wildcats dropped a pair of games to Sumrall last week to end the season, as the Bobcats won at home 5-3 on Tuesday before taking an 11-6 win on the road in Leakesville on Friday night.
The other Class 4A South State semifinal series has Sumrall facing Newton County. The winner of the Stone-Purvis series and the survivor of the Sumrall-NCHS match-up will meet next week in the Class 4A South State finals.